Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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High winds spark fires, outages, road closures and more

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TWC News: High winds spark fires, outages, road closures and more
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Update-- Power has been restored to all but 5,000 Austin Energy customers. Repairs are expected to be finished Monday evening.

Earlier-- The number of Austin Energy customers without power has jumped to 18,000, according to the power utility company.

Austin Energy said the outages are “very widespread” and repairs are needed in several hundred locations.

No estimates can be given for when power will be restored.

Earlier-- High winds are keeping emergency personnel busy Monday afternoon.

More than twenty Austin Energy crews are scrambling across the city to restore power to 10,000 customers currently without service, thanks to high winds throughout the Austin area.

Ed Clark, a spokesperson for the utility company, said that repairs are needed in about 150 areas. Clark said all customers without power should report that outage to (512) 322-9100.

The strong winds and dry conditions have prompted a Red Flag Warning for wildfires.

Responders with the Austin Fire Department are currently battling a brush fire along Farm to Market 973, northeast of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. Several mulch piles at the Hornsby Water Plant ignited due to internal heat and the heavy winds.

Several flights to and from the airport have been cancelled due to the weather. All American Airlines flights after 2 p.m. (seven departures and seven arrivals) are cancelled.

High winds are also to blame for damage at a North Austin business center Monday. Emergency officials say wind gusts of up to 45 miles-per-hour helped to bring down a brick facade on the side of the building in two parts.

Crews were called to the building on the 9400 block of Burnet Road after the first part of the wall collapsed around 11:30 a.m.

After the scene was secured, the second part of the wall was taken down by a gust of wind.

City inspectors have been called to investigate, but AFD Battalion Chief Palmer Buck said he’s comfortable that the structure of the building is intact.

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